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INTRODUCTORY   ESSAY.                                    21
who is taught that species arc definite creations, constant
and unchangeable, without being cautioned as to their |M>wcr
of variation within certain limits, finds, when IK* begins to ob-
serve for himself, that IIQ has constant diiYiculty in determin-
ing tlieir limits, and that abler judges than himself are equally
at fault. The more books lie consults, the greater are the
discrepancies he meets with; if he has recourse to gardens,
he there finds species still more sportive; and if he travels,
he meets with a change of form under every climate; till at
last, perplexed and mortified, he gives up the study of specific
botany, and becomes a convert to the belief that species are
the arbitrary creations of systcinutists. And such must be
the result in the great majority of instances, while each ob-
server has to. acquire for himself that familiarity with the
amount of variation to which organized beings are subject,
which alone will render him a sound systernatist. For 50 long
as our early education does not teach us this important prin-
ciple, 50 long shall we find beginners refusing to accept the
conclusions arrived at by abler botanists.
1 Even if \ve admit the hypothesis that the existence of species
as definite creations is inconsistent with facts, it does not ne-
eesSarily follow that the study of systematic botany is fruitless;
for such a. supposition involves the operation of Jaws which
govern the variations of plants, and in accordance with which
they remain fixed for a longer or shorter period; and sufch
laws it becomes the duty of the gystematist to develop. The
advocates for their agency principally base theitj .Boliaf upon
hybridity, and variability induced by climatic influences; but
we shall attempt^ to show, that all the legitimate conclusions
which can be drawn from a study of tlicra phenomena arc op-
posed to the theory of universal mutability.
A* Gt/i the effects of Hybridization,    -
Recent experiments liave lad to the following results:
I. It is a mu<$ more difficult operation to produce hybrids,
even under every advantage, than is usually .auppoiocL   The